These are some of the knotty
commercial and legal questions being discussed on a LinkedIn post. They are in response
to a story on Managing IP about Philip
Morris’s legal strategy to oppose the UK
government’s plans to force cigarette makers to
sell their products in standardised packaging.
Responses from lawyers and IP
consultants highlight the split in the profession about the IP
objections raised by tobacco companies in their fight against
"While I don’t
believe smoking should be prohibited, it is a major public
health issue. But not, in my mind, an IP issue," writes
Melbourne-based IP consultant Mike Lloyd.
"Trying to apply a property
argument for basically spin-control is starting to push the
comfort boundaries of disinterested professionals," adds IP
broker Lawrence Lau, explaining why he believes that IP
organisations seem reluctant to throw their weight too firmly
behind the anti-plain packaging campaigners.
But New York-based IP lawyer
Barry Krivisky suggests that plain packaging rules amount to a
total prevention of use of a trade mark. "If you have a
registration for a logo mark, but are prohibited from using it,
what besides a trademark office piece of paper or record do you
This amounts to a taking by the
government, he says, and tobacco companies should, at the
least, be compensated for it.
Lau responds with a
smoking-related metaphor: "Only if they want to first cough up
the money to offset for the negative health externalities."
You can join in the debate
below, or on the IP Pro group on LinkedIn.